Genesis Twenty Two

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Genesis 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

God did tempt. This is the first occurrence of the word “tempt” (Hebrew nacah). It does not mean “tempt to do evil” (James 1:13), but is usually translated “prove.” Although God knew what Abraham would do, it must be “proved” to all (including even Abraham himself) that he loved God more than anyone else and that his faith in God's Word was absolute, thus demonstrating the validity of God's selection of him as father of the chosen nation.

Genesis 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

whom thou lovest. It is providentially significant that this is the first occurrence of the word “love” in the Bible, referring as it does to the love of a father for his son. The New Testament makes it clear that this story of Abraham and Isaac is not only true historically but is also a type of the heavenly Father and His only begotten Son, depicting the coming sacrifice on Mount Calvary. In a beautiful design (no doubt Spirit-inspired), it is appropriate that the first use of “love in each of the three synoptic gospels (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22) shows the Father calling out from heaven that “this is my beloved Son,” at the baptism of Jesus (which, of course, also speaks of death and resurrection). In the Gospel of John, on the other hand, where the word “love” occurs more than in any other book of the Bible, its first occurrence is at John 3:16: “God so loved the world” that He, like Abraham, was willing to sacrifice His beloved Son.

offer him there. Note that God did not actually tell Abraham to slay his son, though it was natural that he would so understand it, but to offer him (compare Romans 12:1).

Genesis 22:3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

young men. The Hebrew word for “young men” is the same as “lad,” referring to Isaac, in Genesis 22:5, 12. Thus Isaac was not a little boy at this time, and was undoubtedly acquainted with the Canaanite practice of sacrificing their firstborn sons to their gods. He could surely have escaped from his aged father had he not been willing himself to obey God's command.

Genesis 22:4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

the place. Moriah was about thirty miles away, and was the place where David would later plan the Temple (2 Chronicles 3:1), and where Christ Himself would one day be offered as the Lamb of God.

third day. The “third day” speaks also of the period of Christ's burial.

Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

worship. The word for “worship” (Hebrew shachah) means simply “bow down”—that is, submit to God's will. This is what Christ did, perfectly, on the cross.

come again. Note Abraham's great faith. At a time when no one had ever come back from the dead, Abraham so strongly believed that God would keep His word concerning Isaac that he believed God would raise him from the dead after he had obeyed God in slaying him (Hebrews 11:17-19).

Genesis 22:6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

Genesis 22:7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

Genesis 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

a lamb. Though Abraham was fully prepared to slay Isaac, he evidently comprehended the ultimate meaning of the divinely-ordained principle of substitutionary sacrifice, practiced ever since God shed the blood of the first sacrificial lamb to provide a covering for Adam and Eve. He knew that, one day, the “Lamb of God” must be offered by God to “take away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) and thus to make possible the fulfillment of all His eternal promises.

Genesis 22:9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

Genesis 22:10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

Genesis 22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

Genesis 22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

Genesis 22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

Genesis 22:15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,

the angel of the Lord. That this angel is actually the Lord Himself—that is, Christ in a pre-incarnate theophany—is certain because of His ability to personally promise the blessings in Genesis 22:16-18. Also note Genesis 22:11-12.

Genesis 22:16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:

Genesis 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

as the sand. Here the number of stars (of which only about three thousand can be seen with the naked eye) is compared to the number of sand grains. Both can now be calculated as of the order of 1025, a remarkable anticipation of modern science.

thy seed. In Genesis 22:17, 18, three times God used the word “seed” in the singular, instead of “seeds” in the plural. Paul claimed that this verse is a prophecy of Christ (Galatians 3:16), instead of a prophecy of all the children of Abraham. This argument is predicated on the truth of verbal inspiration, which even makes a fine distinction between singular and plural.

Genesis 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Genesis 22:19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.

Genesis 22:20 And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor;

Genesis 22:21 Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,

Genesis 22:22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.

Genesis 22:23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother.

Genesis 22:24 And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.